Xavi to stay on as Barcelona head coach after talks with Joan Laporta

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Xavi to stay on as Barcelona head coach after talks with Joan Laporta

Xavi will remain as Barcelona’s head coach on a contract that runs until the end of June 2025 after reversing his decision to leave the club this summer.

His change of heart follows discussions with Barcelona sporting director Deco, who later accompanied Xavi in an emergency meeting with Joan Laporta at the club president’s personal residence on Wednesday evening.

Laporta is expected to officially announce Xavi’s intention to take charge next season at a press conference on Thursday.

Xavi, 44, said in January after a 5-3 defeat at home to Villarreal that he would exit his position at the end of the campaign and has since repeatedly denied suggestions he could be persuaded to stay on.

His announcement preceded a 13-game unbeaten run across all competitions, which helped Barcelona to qualify for the Champions League quarter-final stage and take them to second position in La Liga and within eight points of league leaders Real Madrid.

However, Barcelona were eliminated from the Champions League by Paris Saint-Germain after suffering a 4-1 home defeat having won the first leg in Paris 3-2.

Five days later, Xavi’s side lost El Clasico 3-2 to Real Madrid — leaving them 11 points behind Real Madrid with just six rounds of matches remaining.

Barcelona are set to finish the season without a trophy having exited the Copa del Rey at the quarter-final stage to eventual winners Athletic Bilbao in January, while losing the Spanish Supercopa final against Real Madrid in the same month.

Xavi was appointed as Barcelona head coach in November 2021 (David Ramos/Getty Images)

Xavi was appointed as Barcelona head coach in November 2021 as the permanent successor to Ronald Koeman, and guided them to the La Liga title in his first full season in charge.

However, he also oversaw the club’s elimination in back-to-back Champions League group stage campaigns and Barcelona also struggled in the Europa League, losing their quarter-final against Frankfurt in 2022 and in the knockout play-off round against Manchester United the following campaign.

This season’s European campaign did represent progress — despite group stage defeats to Shakhtar Donetsk and Royal Antwerp — and eliminated Napoli from the round-of-16 stage, before losing out to PSG.

In September 2023, Xavi signed a new contract with Barcelona through to 2025, with the option of an additional year.

Having made 767 appearances for Barcelona as a player — only Lionel Messi (778) has more — Xavi initially joined Qatari club Al Sadd in 2015 before being appointed their manager in 2019 — winning the nation’s league title in 2021 — before his appointment as Barcelona head coach.



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When did Xavi change his mind?

By Pol Ballus 

The wait is over – Xavi will stay at Barcelona next season.

The good news for the club is that it enables them to immediately start working on next season’s project with a manager with a deep knowledge of the squad, who commands the approval of the vast majority of the dressing room.

The bad news, though, focuses on how this decision was taken. Despite Xavi informing the club about his U-turn at the start of the week, senior executives had expressed doubts in recent hours over granting Xavi his wish.

Last week’s defeats against PSG and Real Madrid played a big role in that school of thought among the board.

An emergency meeting led by president Joan Laporta alongside Deco, Xavi and executives Rafael Yuste and Alejandro Echevarria on Wednesday night concluded with the club deciding to trust the manager for one more year at least.

The lack of consensus around Xavi’s future is without a doubt the biggest concern for Barca fans. The 44-year-old’s support inside the club seems to be at its lowest since taking over in 2021. But for now, Barca players, the board and agents know what to expect from the club as they start working towards next season.

What does Xavi staying mean for Barcelona?

By Tomas Hill Lopez-Menchero

Xavi staying at Barcelona is a significant U-turn from their legendary former midfielder — it was only in January that he called the role of head coach a “cruel job” that “wears you down” as he announced he would be stepping down.

That decision led to an upturn in results, with Barca going unbeaten for 13 games before defeat in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germain last week. Xavi’s touchline outburst in that game and subsequent red card suggested he is still affected by the pressures of the ‘entorno’ — the Spanish term that translates as ‘environment or surroundings’ but which refers to the fan and media spotlight at Barca.

He was equally combative after Sunday’s defeat to Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, which effectively ended their hopes of retaining last season’s La Liga title. But there are encouraging signs in the performances of teenagers Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsi, who Xavi will continue to build around. His trust in Barca’s La Masia-made youngsters has been one of the big positives since his return as coach.

The need to focus on youth is especially pressing given Barca’s precarious financial situation. Xavi will need to contend with that again this summer — something that would surely have put off other coaches from taking the job.


(Fran Santiago/Getty Images)